Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Katamari Damacy: "Clumps of Soul"
First, let me get it out of my system: I LOVE KATAMARI DAMACY! Okay, now I can talk about the game.
I loved the idea the first time I saw it. "I really wish I could play that!", I thought. "That game is so perfect for me!" I read about it time and again, longing to roll up giant whales into my very own "Clump of Soul" (literal translation). Finally, I noticed some magic words: PlayStation 2. My brother and one of my best friends own the PS2! (And I won't admit how long it took me to make the connection.)
By the weekend, I owned Katamari Damacy. That's right, I bought a game–and a memory card–for a system I don't even own. But it's been worth it!
The game is even more addictive than I expected, with great gameplay. Your "katamari" (weird sticky ball you roll around) is controlled a lot like a tank, using the two joysticks. You start out tiny, "rolling up" pushpins and dice, advancing to bigger and bigger items. As you progress, your goals become more challenging, with shorter deadlines. It's a blast!
The storyline is wonderfully absurd. You are the Prince, son of the King of All Cosmos. Your dad got carried away (due to some interesting mushrooms, I suspect) and broke all the stars. Now it's your job to fix it: your dad sends you to earth to create katamaris, which he will turn into stars (or stardust) to restore the sky.
Eggs hatch, chickens cluck, and people squeal or giggle as you collect them all, determined to make your dad proud. If you don't meet your goal, though, be prepared! Let's just say he's not exactly understanding.
A dedicated gamer can beat it fairly quickly, but there's real replay value. You can repeat levels to get faster times, shooting stars, and bigger stars/more complete constellations. If you make a big enough star, you reach "Eternal", removing the time limit for that stage. Then there's the Royal Presents to go back and collect on each stage except the first. The best (and one of the hardest to get) is a camera which allows you to take photos of your katamaris.
Plus, there's two player mode. The "Space Mushroom" is a sort of arena where you and a friend (playing as a Royal Cousin) compete to make the biggest katamari. If you're big enough, you can even roll up the other player! How fun is that?
My advice: if you have a PS2, start rolling. Too bad the game's not available for other platforms.